The weekend has come and gone and with it, the Gatecrash prerelease. I hope everyone had a great time playing with the new cards! I unfortunately did not get the chance to attend a Prerelease due to a family emergency, so you guys probably know more about the Gruul than I do, but let's continue on with the review anyway. So far we have been zooming through all of the colors and guilds, leaving us with just Gruul, Boros, Green, and Red left on the docket.
Today, we will be going over all of the Green and Gruul cards, evaluating them for both limited and constructed play. And you guys know the deal by now, a always, to help us out we will be using the following two scales to give each card its ratings:
5: These cards are all-stars and their greatness spans multiple formats usually. Generally the chase cards of a set such as Tarmogoyf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor. 5s should not be given out lightly as the really have to have a big impact across formats.
4: These cards are going to be seen in decks of their color more often than not but may be less universal than 5s. These will usually be dominant in certain formats but not so much in others much like Bloodbraid Elf or Baneslayer Angel. Note that with a shift to how Extended is, 4s tend to see both Extended and Standard play, but have not made the jump to eternal.
3: These are the backbone of Standard and usually serve some utility but are more restrictive in archetype, like a Makeshift Mannequin or Mind Spring.
2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application. Occasional sideboard appearances or cameos in some combo deck are the most frequent uses here such as Splinter Twin or Acidic Slime
1: These are basically unplayable and only see use in the most rare of occasions such as bad card poster boy One with Nothing
5.0: I will always play this card. Period.
4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.
4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.
3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card's color.
3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)
2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)
2.0: If I'm playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)
1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)
1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)
0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I'll never start it. (10%)
0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)
This guy is large, but he is large and vanilla and only has two toughness. Not the makings of a hero.
Here, he actually seems pretty scary. First of all, he comes down for five mana and triggers just about every other creature with evolve you have out. Then, anything with at least three toughness is going to have him get bigger. He will be vulnerable with two or three toughness most likely, but if you can get around that, he is a Battering Ram.
Too much mana for hexproof as the second ability is not all that desirable in constructed.in my opinion.
A decent option for evasion-ish, but one of the big issues is that with hexproof givers, you generally want to get a card out of it, using it to counter a piece of removal. This cannot do that, but this does allow you to begin tapping out once you play it. Playable, but a late pick in my opinion.
At least Battlegrowth got an upgrade, because that card was not good before.
A mediocre combat trick, but this does have a lot of uses with Simic by providing a +1/+1 counter and you will be able to Neck Snap people with this which is nice. In fact, the number of times you Neck Snap someone will probably be higher than the number of times you just win a normal combat trade because of it.
We all love Giant Spider, but I think we all know it isn't what you want to be investing in for Standard.
I really like this in limited because there are a lot of decks that you want to be interacting with in the air. This can easily grow to a 3/5 by turn five or six and then he is holding off opposing flying evolvers, some of the Dimir infiltration squad, and many of Boros' scarier threats. This is not the most offensive evolve creature, but I think the defense is essential.
While this could be used in the same way that Bellowing Tangleworm was in the Monogreen decks a year or so back, it does not have any real use beyond that, and even that is unlikely.
A very strong above the rate creature on his own, this guy will also be granting evasion to the rest of your growing evolve creatures. Much like his blue counterpart though, Gruul will be happy to steal this from you just because of its rate, so you have to take it earlier than a “guild only” card.
While this is technically a Bear with an upside, the upside is not one well suited for constructed unfortunately.
A strong bear with a very relevant ability. Enough first strike creature on defense is always a nightmare to attack into and even on offense first strike will generally get you in one or two additional attacks on a two power creature.
I could see this being the one-drop of choice for decks like the Monogreen or BG Ooze deck that occasionally see play. This guy can grow to a 3/3 pretty easily where he is then another creature in your deck immune to Wrath.
This guy grows, attacks, eats something, shrinks, grows, and does it all again. That kind of play makes me pretty excited to play this as a one-drop even though one-drops generally underperform in limited.
We can't even get wurms that keep you from dropping below seven life to see play at this cost and stats, so I don't think putting more 7/7 tramplers into play is the secret to making one of these playable.
He is very large, but he is expensive and his evasive is able to be worked around. Still a nightmare, especially with bloodrush. He could very easily be a 4.0, depending on how often an opponent's board can deal with a 7/7 in this format.
I do not think all that many decks will play Gates and the ones that do are likely to play four or less, making this guy inconsistent as a mana producer. In addition, even when he does work, he is a two mana elf when there are better two mana and one mana options already available.
This guy is going to vary based on your Gate count of course, but even in a worst case scenario, you basically have a bear. If you do get this guy out on turn two with a gate in play, expect big things.
This guy has a very high ceiling, which means it is potentially abusable, but in a deck that is not strictly abusing this, it seems pretty bad. You play ti on turn two, then, if you have a follow up on turn three, it begins making mana, likely to no effect this turn since you just had to play a guy. So, on turn four, you have a Llanowar Elf. If you plan on continuing to improve his size and can abuse the mana later on, let me know.
You're deck need to be really fat to want this for its ability, but some decks definitely will. Most decks will just play this as a large growing Evolve guy, which is totally fine.
Fogs are sweet, but not three mana conditional fogs. The chance that you are running big guys with counters and want a Green Safe Passage is pretty slim.
Not a strong spell, but if you are Simic, this will do a decent job of mimicing Safe Passage some amount of the time. If you are picking this up to be actual Fog in your Gruul deck, you are probably doing something wrong.
The effect on this is not bad, but paying four mana for a 2/3 in Constructed pretty much is, especially without a way to keep itself protected.
Naturally this guy is going to get better with the more green creatures you have but he is also going to get better with the number of additional synergies you have. Anything that cares about +1/+1 counters is good enough to get me even more excited about this guy.
Vanilla Clone that only hits your own team is pretty lame, especially at sorcery speed. Not much else to say here.
I am always hesitant to play cards like this that are so weak to removal, but in this case, because you can retrigger evolve and because you might have a giant creature as the result of evolve, I am much more likely to play this in a Simic or even Gruul deck. Hint, it works with bloodrush, so save it ‘till after combat.
This card has always been a two and likely always will. It is not the flashiest, but it gets the job done, just liked it has for the last 10 years.
Sideboard card most of the time but I can see occasionally main decking this. Still, a very solid option to be pulling out of your sideboard against the various Keyrunes and auras that plague Gatecrash.
This is a lot of mana and a lot of hoops to jump through just to get some amount of vanilla dudes out of the deal. Like usual, the Ooze making enchantment from the set remains a limited card only, and a confusing one at that.
You are only playing this in Simic, so I will assume that a give for the ranking. In Simic, this allows you to Shrink an evolve creature down, get a big dude, and that big dude will retrigger evolve, giving you back a free +1/+1 counter. Making dude after dude every turn is pretty strong and while this might not have the ability to always do that, it can make some very big guys. If you have a Cloudfin Raptor out by the way (or any 0 power Evolve guy) this will always be, “1G: Make a 1/1,” when you want it to be, which is nice.
Alright, so let us imagine some of the creatures we might target in Constructed. Thragtusk gains you 8. Restoration Angel gains you 7. Geist of Saint Traft gives you 8 (thanks to the angel). Thundermaw Hellkite gives you 10. Even at its best, 3 mana gain 10 is not constructed worthy, especially since they can interact with it.
Not a huge fan of pure life gain spells in limited either. This one has a large enough effect that bringing it in against Boros is reasonable, so keep your eye on it in your sideboard.
If you are looking for a Naturalize, you are most certainly not looking for a five mana version, that must attack, and is then contingent on your opponent blocking, in order to destroy whatever it is you are destroying.
A big guy that will make your main deck when you are lacking other 5s, but will also be a good sideboard friend. He triggers evolve nicely and works with the big guys out of Gruul. Add a way to blow up Keyrunes and whatnot is just icing on the cake.
You would only play this as a combat trick and even then, this is too expensive for the output.
Arguably the worst of the bloodrush guys, this is just Giant Spider without reach, which is fine, but not great. The Bloodrush being two mana is a shame, but it will still have your guy living at the end of combat most of the time.
It is tough to tell what types of graveyard recursion are playable at times. I don't think this is a desired effect anywhere that can't already do it better, but I have been wrong before.
You can board this in against mill as a way to buy you more time. Each time you draw this is three cards more in your deck. Outside of that, I don't see this having much use unless you have three insane bombs in your deck and are also short on playables.
Both sides of this card are just too expensive too see play in Constructed, even if they are costed appropriately.
This guy is giant obviously and that will win a game if he hits play, but he does cost eight mana, so that is a bigger hoop to jump through than normal His bloodrush will also win you many games, but it also costs a heck of alot of mana at seven. Seven mana to win the game is reasonable, but a removal spell or Fog from your opponent counters that, making this good, but not an auto-slam first pick.
As we have come to learn in Magic, Sylvan means “any green thing we can't come up with another name for.” For seven mana, you get a Woodfall Primus front half, with a useless Wild Growth on the other half. Oh, and we traded out trample for reach...ewww...
He is big and can take out a troublesome permanent, but you are mostly relying on his large size to Thwart attackers and eventually turn into The Abyss. Seven mana is a lot though.
I love the name, and I do suppose this can counter Bonfire of the Damned so maybe there is a small chance, but more than likely, a toughness only booster is not something to be looking at for Constructed.
The big saving grace on this is the benefit of reach, which can allow you to Ambush a guy or two, but most of the time this will just be used to counter a combat trick or removal spell.
Adding a mana on to Fertile Ground in exchange for two life is a pretty big drop off. This could see very rare play in ramp decks looking for additional three mana accelerants, but I find that not all too likely.
It is hard to just take your turn three off to ramp. Rampant Growth is nice because turn two has so much less happening. That said, this will mana fix and be crucial to any three or four color decks, but I don't expect it to be the Axebane Guardian of the set or anything.
Despite being above the curve in terms of stats with an ability, I don't think the ability is all that useful for any deck out there right now. I could be wrong and perhaps this is the way Restoration Angel battles are won or something, but it seems unlikely.
A very solid Typhoid Rat when you choose to play him, as he does not die to ping effects; plus he is good any time by allowing you to win what would have otherwise been a trade, or to turn a chump attack into a trade (sort of).
This will be primarily just a reanimation target, but it can do some scary things out of the graveyard. If you ever get Griselbrand and this guy out simultaneously, that should result in a dead opponent regardless of how much instant speed removal they have.
He is expensive and difficult to cast, but once you have gotten past both of those hurdles, he just wins the game. You aren't likely to have more than a land or so in your hand when you play this, but even then, free Lightning Bolts are good right?
This is no Rakdos's Return or Sphinx's Revelation, but it is still a pretty powerful spell if you can take advantage of multiple modes. Of course, just hitting a single creature and the opponent's face is pretty good. This will not have a lot of places to be played, but it should be a decent role player when it shows up.
As close to a five as you can get. If this were colorless, it most certainly would be. Kill a creature, a player, and another creature. Good anywhere in the mid game all the way until it becomes the end game. One of the easiest first picks in the set.
I think this guy has potential going as far back as Modern as a card advantage engine that also provides removal all in one. This is a more restrictive Liliana of the Veil in terms of play, although I don't think it will transition as well over into Legacy. And yes, of course the ultimate is nuts if you get there.
It draws you cards, kills opposing creatures, and then turns your own creatures into bloodthirsty killing machines. Oh yea, and he's tough to deal with. Sounds like a first pick to me!
I am giving this the slightest of chances because I love the card. I can see it now, all five drop land death.dec. Ya got your Acidic Slime, your Survey the Wreckage, and now your Frenzied Tilling. This is definitely not the worst card and if ramp gets popular, expect this value to increase as well.
You can very easily color screw someone over, even if it isn't until turn five when it happens. This is actually an okay card to enable late game splashes, although you probably don't want more than one in your list.
I actually think this has a fine shot at seeing playing. Its bloodrush is more than fairly priced. If you remember Colossal Might saw plenty of play and this is comparable. But, oh yea, you can have the terrible rate 4/4 trampler for 4 mana if you draw this without something in play. This guy is pushed in rate, so expect him to see some amount of play.
This guy is going to be a steal at anything later than 2nd pick and he will often just be snagged in the opening pack. A huge body with trample and a devastating combat trick make for quite the limited pick up.
Okay, obviously this has uses, like killing Faeries. Oh wait. Uh, well at least it beats Control Magic and stuff. None of thsoe seeing play either? Uh, Falter! You always love Falter right? This ain't limited broham.... This just got three very strange, very situational abilities that leads me to believe it will be very rarely used.
Having a main deck Falter that also takes down fliers when you aren't in the position to just swing past for the win is nice. Not the most powerful charm, but a playable one for sure.
Not the type of card that is too exciting to Reanimate and not the type of card that is easy to cast. Powerful ability, but I don't see it hitting play often enough to matter.
Of course this guy will just win you like every limited game ever. He comes down as a big Flametongue Kavu himself, so you are always getting value out of your seven mana, making him much more stomachable.
So, you might play this for the +3/+3 if that sort of thing excites you, but what the heck is a five mana aura doing giving haste? Yep, I have 10 mana out and drew my five drop, LET'S GO!!! It is expensive and an aura, but there are enough sneaky critters that you might want this sort of thing.
I hate that the creatures have to be different names in order for the card to be functional. (If you could grab any three creatures, you could fail to find on two of them and automatically get whatever you wanted). That element, along with the fact that the other two don't hit the graveyard, will keep this out of competitive play.
If you have three creatures that are way better than the rest in your deck, or even two, give this a shot. But if you are just grabbing another dude, it isn't worth it.
Giving your creatures trample might be a desirable effect in the right deck, so I suppose there is some hope there, but his second ability is a little too costly. If he was your plan against control for example, you would need to wait until eight or more mana, play him, animate two or more lands, and attack, expecting him to die thereafter. That might be viable, but I doubt it.
Not as game defining as Vitu-Ghazi Guidmage, but his ability is still a nightmare when it comes time to break creature stalls. Giving trample to your dudes will often be clutch, especially for evolve guys, and bashing your extra lands into their creatures is always a good way to avoid mana flood!
That is actually a pretty large pump to be getting out of one card. If some double strike deck were to grace us in Standard, I can see this being an option.
This guy is very efficiently costed as a five mana 5/4, so you are never sad to run him. Getting the option to turn him into a combat trick is just a bonus and it is a big bonus in this case, as basically nothing should survive a +5/+4 buff.
These types of cards are always begging to be broken. I am not sure if this one will end up being in that level of power, but rumors have already begun spreading about some of the things you can do with this in Standard, including Human Reanimator.
A free Bear that will often just be a Bear. If you have a cheap enough deck to get two guys into play on turn two as a result of this though, he is pretty powerful.
He gets big if you have a bunch of other guys. The definition of a win-more card.
This guy will be big and hard to deal with a turn or two after he hits play. Still needs some type of evasion to just win the game, but he will bulldoze plenty of things while he has the chance.
And thus, our journey through the most savage of guilds has concluded. Gruul should be very interesting in limited. Opponents will have to have the fear in just about every combat step, constantly evaluating blocks based on a trick, because Gruul is more than likely going to have one. For constructed, some interesting removal and a few value rate creatures might have the guild represented beyond its already heavy presence in Standard.
Tomorrow, we will be wrapping things up with the Boros Legion as well as all of the Red cards. In addition, a little stroll through the artifacts and lands will end things for us here. So tune back tomorrow for the conclusion of our review and as always, thanks for reading!
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